Approximately 10% of cases of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a progressive and fatal degeneration that targets motor neurons (MNs), are inherited, and ≈20% of these cases of familial ALS (FALS) are caused by mutations of copper/zinc superoxide dismutase type 1. Glutamate excitotoxicity has been implicated as a mechanism of MN death in both ALS and FALS. In this study, we tested whether a neuroprotective strategy involving potent and selective inhibitors of glutamate carboxypeptidase II (GCPII), which converts the abundant neuropeptide N-acetylaspartylglutamate to glutamate, could protect MNs in an in vitro and animal model of FALS. Data suggest that the GCPII inhibitors prevented MN cell death in both of these systems because of the resultant decrease in glutamate levels. GCPII inhibition may represent a new therapeutic target for the treatment of ALS.
|Original language||English (US)|
|Number of pages||6|
|Journal||Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America|
|State||Published - Aug 5 2003|
ASJC Scopus subject areas